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The main discussion this week revolves around some of the more subtle parts of the game. It's not always about technique and power, so that's why we look at the power of being a world-class character and what goes into winning games beyond the usual runs and wickets.

If you want to dig deep, this is the place to get you down into the real qualities that can make you a cricketer.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Be a World-Class Cricket Character who is Invaluable to the Team

At the end of this season, one of my team's players left the club to move to another city. It was emotional because he has been at the same club for 15 years, man and boy.

But the biggest reason he will be missed is his awesome cricketing attitude.


Miró is an incredible bloke who is one of the hardest-working, most supportive and toughest characters in the team. Thinking how to replace him made me wonder one question,

What makes a world-class cricketing character?

Michael Vaughan - 2005 Ashes winning captain - was famous for saying everyone in the team was a captain. Great leadership doesn't just come from the top, it comes from both the appointed ones (captain, vice-captain, coach) and everyone else. There is no rule that restricts being a great character to having a title. So, let's look in more detail at how you can be a better "bloke" in your team.

Recognise every achievement (no matter how small)

It's easy to say "well batted" to the guy who just got a hundred. What's harder is taking the time to acknowledge the smaller "wins" that happen.

This is harder because you have to know the goals of everyone in the team. Imagine you know a young player is desperate to join senior nets. They work hard enough to come along as a net bowler halfway through the season and bowl well to first team players. You - as a top bloke - take a moment at the end of the session to recognise that player's small success. They are not first team material yet, but they are working hard and will be motivated by your words.

This is one example. There are ten thousand more:

Improved fielding, a good bowling spell that tied players down allowing wickets to fall at the other end, always the first to arrive on match day...

You might not think it does much, but the person will be delighted they have been noticed. Some people prefer a fanfare announcement, others are more satisfied with a quick quiet word when no one else is around. So pick your moment and speak honestly about what you have seen.

Set the example (even in the face of criticism)

We can't all be star players. We can all be stars at setting the example to others.

This isn't about scoring run and taking wickets; it's about doing the things you want others to follow. For example, when Miró dropped a couple of catches early in the season, he was determined to sort the issue out. Not only did he come to practice and take a bunch of catches, but we had extra sessions where he worked so hard the bruises on his hands never seemed to go away. After one game, he was so furious he dropped a catch that we spent 20 minutes on the outfield. I was hitting balls up, he was catching them again and again.

This was in the face of some gentle ribbing from team-mates. He didn't care, he just kept on catching.

He didn't drop another catch all season.

If you want everyone in the team to train twice a week, then be the first one there three times a week.

If you want the team to have better body language on the field, then walk tall and speak with confidence.

If you think smart appearance equals smarter cricket, be the most dapper player on the team.

Sometimes this can be tough and you feel like you are doing more than anyone else. Don't despair. People will follow because that's what people do.

Speak your mind (tactfully and honestly)

A good bloke is able to speak up and be clear and effective with it. Honesty cuts through all politics, hedging and double speak. However, sometimes "speaking your mind" is seen as "criticising". It can be that, but here it's not because speaking your mind is done with tact and humility.

This takes courage because it's easy to get wrong. You need to know the character of who you are talking to and how they react. Some people prefer hard words to get motivated while others are sensitive to anything other than blind praise. You need to reflect this.

Aim to cut through arguments and get to a practical solution. Instead of saying "you batsmen are letting us down by not scoring enough runs", say "we all know the team are not scoring enough runs, how can we work towards improving that area?"

Consider how you say things, but never be afraid to say them. In the long run it reduces frustrations and stops cliques being formed.

In the same vein, be prepared to listen to others plans and criticisms.

You will find some people with no tact at all who seem to be blaming you personally. Pick out the practical advice and ignore the delivery and you can actually use negativity to improve yourself. You will also find people who are naturally good at delivering honest feedback with tact. Listen to how they operate and learn from them.

Perform (and help others perform)

It's obvious to say that someone needs to meet the minimum standard of the team to play. But this isn't always the high profile things, it's knowing your role and doing it well.

Miró is a great example of this. His batting role in the side was to bat in the middle overs and rotate the strike, giving more expansive batsmen the chance to go big. He did is superbly, finishing fifth in the averages despite batting at seven most of the year. He hit 40% of his runs in singles and scored off 40% of the balls he faced (more than anyone else in the top order, in a team where the average was 31%).

Additionally, Miró was always the first to help at training to bring on others. He injured his hand but still came to nets and hit up catches for a bunch of first and second team guys. He would bowl as long as you wanted him to bowl and would never say no to giving throwdowns. That's incredible performance and incredible leadership right there.

That said, You can't under-perform and stay in the side just because people like you. But I'll tell you something; if you are seen as a crucial part of the team because of your character, you get a lot more leeway.

Put the team first (ahead of yourself)

It's often said that the team comes before the individual. People say they would rather get a duck and win than get a hundred and lose. Seeing as we have no control over those things, the real question is, "what does putting the team first really mean?"

There are some practical things you can do.

  • Support your team when they are batting by sitting and watching the game, cheering on good play.
  • Be enthusiastic in the warm up, it helps bond you as a unit.
  • Work at being the best fielder to can be to support the bowlers.
  • Work at being great as a non-striker, you can pick up a lot of nabbed singles for your partner.
  • Never criticise during a match and be careful about how you criticise generally. It's good to be honest and better to do it with tat and respect.
  • Know exactly what everyone's job is in the team and support them in it.
  • Enjoy the success of others more than you hate your own failures. Help people who are failing to get out of the slump.

None of these things require supreme cricketing skills. You can do them if you are the best player or just hanging onto your place. Either way, the team will improve and you will be seen as a crucial part of it.

Cheers for being a world-class bloke Miró. You'll be a tough character to replace.

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Proven Ways to Win More One Day Cricket Games

The limited over shoot out is simple: Most runs win. But as the game has changed so much in recent years, should you revise your team's tactics in the format?


This article will show you a successful blueprint that you can use in your one day games. Think of it as general guidelines rather than laws of success, because conditions and playing standards will vary greatly. There's no one set way, but these tips will help you do better in some way.

The blueprint comes from a team who have had genuine success in the UK 2016 summer. West of Scotland played 19 matches (50 over format), the team won 14 and finished third in the league. You'll find out more as we go along.

Here are the tips:

Score from more balls

Runs are the core of limited over success, but in longer formats (40-50 overs) there are far more dots that balls that runs are scored. As a result, the fewer dots you face when batting the more runs you get. This is measured by the team as "scoring ball percentage" (SB%)

So, in 2016, West of Scotland had a SB% of 31% in 4439 balls faced. The opposition's was 26%. On average, the opposition scored 17 fewer runs per match. There is also a large correlation between results and SB%. The team with the higher SB% won 15 from 19 matches, with four games going against the trend.

Now you know this, how do you score from more balls?

First, start with an intent to score from every ball, the details of how you can see here:

These are all things you can work on between games if you feel you could score from more balls (and as a benchmark, over 40% is excellent, under 25% is very poor).

Bowl dots, take wickets

With the ball, it's common for people to say that wickets are the fastest way to slow the opposition scoring rate. This rings true from the stats, but not totally.

Let's take overs 10-20 of West of Scotland matches to compare. The average runs scored in this phase was 33. When two wickets or fewer were lost, the average went up to 36. When more than two wickets were, lost the average was 27.

As you can see, wickets make a difference in certain phases, but teams also tend to recover:

  • Batting first, the average score was 164.
  • When bowled out, the average score was 157 (with a top score of 239).
  • When not bowled out, average score was 170 (top score 227).

So, total scores are not significantly reduced unless a team is bowled out. And even then, there is still a high chance of an above average score.

That means - for bowling tactics - the magic formula is to restrict scoring as much as possible and take wickets through frustration rather than magic bowling.

To do that, the key is to develop accurate bowlers who can hit the stumps.

Bowling at the stumps keeps bowled and LBW in the game and makes it harder to score. You can also set a field more easily when you know most balls will force batsmen to play straight (or take bigger risks).

How accurate is accurate enough to win games?

Probably less than you think. Even getting 40% on the spot will make you a very fine bowler indeed.

But it's also easy to improve.

The type of bowling does not seem to make a huge difference, as you can see from West of Scotland's bowling stats:

  • Seamers bowled 458 balls and took 83 wickets at 3.64 per over
  • Spinners bowled 466 balls, taking 79 wickets at 3.23 per over

Although, it's clear the tradition tactic of opening the bowling with seam is still effective: Seamers took 38 wickets at 2.87 per over in the first 10 overs. The spinners did most of the damage from over 11 onwards. This included 72% of all wicket at the death, which is higher than you might expect.

Create good fielders

You might say this is a no-brainer. But how do you know you have good fielders?

This year, West of Scotland made a crude measure of fielding skill by tracking three things:

  1. Catches vs. drops
  2. Fielding errors (that cost runs)
  3. Good pieces of fielding (that saved runs)

By knowing these figures, you can see if you need to do more work on fielding skills and techniques, or you just need to maintain what you have.

In 2016, the "better" fielding team on the day (fewer mistakes, more good stops, better catching) won 15 from 19 games. There is a clear correlation between fielding skill and wins in 50 over cricket.

In the case of West of Scotland, the catch percentage was 60%, the average number of misfields was four and the average number of good stops was five. Based on this, you could say that these numbers reflect a good fielding side, even if they are not perfect. But who is?

One area the team worked hard on this year was improving ground fielding. This showed up in the figures with the average misfields falling from seven to four as the season went on. It's also noticeable that players tend to say "we fielded badly" when misfields goes over five.

On the other hand, the catch percentage seemed to stay the same through the year despite a huge volume of catching practice. The low point was 52% the high point was 65%. While you will never catch everything because catch difficulty varies from easy to almost impossible, this indicates that more work needs to be done on certain types of catching.

The take home message is this: volume works, but quality works better. The more you can work on weaker fielding areas to bring them up, the more games you win.


Winning limited over games seems simple, but it takes a lot of skill to be one of the best at simple things. Work on:

  1. Intent to score from more balls
  2. Ability to bowl dots
  3. Fielding skills

All these elements can be improved with the right attitude, and when you get them right you win matches. The proof has been shown this year.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 32: Spinners and Statistics

Sam Lavery, Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe get together for cricket coaching conversations. The show this week starts with a conversation about coaching spinners, off the back of an interview with former England spinner Ashley Giles.

There are some ideas for ways to play at trials, and then a long conversation around the use of statistics and analysis in club and school cricket. Questions fielded by Tony in a recent article are discussed in detail.


Have a listen whether you are a stats geek or avoid them like the plague.

How to Send in Your Questions

If you want to win a cricket coaching prize, you need to send in your burning questions to the show. If your question is the best one we give you a free online cricket coaching course!

Send in your questions via: - email - twitter - Facebook - Google+

Or you can call and leave your question on the Academy voice mail:

  • +44 (0)203 239 7543
  • +61 (02) 8005 7925

How to Listen to the Show

Just click the "play" button at the top of the show notes.

Or, the show comes out every Friday and you can listen to it on your phone or tablet every week automatically. Simply choose your favourite podcast player and do a search for the show:

Or subscribe manually with the RSS feed. Right click here, copy the link and paste it into the appropriate place for adding new feeds in your podcast subscription software or RSS reader.

You can also download this show onto your computer by clicking the play button at the top of the article, or clicking on the mp3 to download.


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Chase Totals with the Skill of Eion Morgan's England ODI Team

If chasing totals is an art then setting totals is a skill.

Take Singles to Spin Like Kohli with These Drills

Have you ever wondered how the best players of spin seem to score off almost every ball that they face?

Players such as AB DeVilliers, Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla rarely face two balls in a row unless they score a boundary. The board keeps ticking over with little or no risk.


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


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Issue: 427
Date: 2016-09-02